There was a lot of information but also a considerable amount of venting expressed about the upcoming 100th Street Underground Pipes and Asphalt Replacement (UPAR) project on Thursday night.
City of North Battleford officials held an informational presentation at the Don Ross Centre about the work on 100th Street to happen in July and August.
Despite the bitter cold, about 15 people showed up, most of them business people directly impacted by the work happening on the street.
The $2 million project is the third phase of the downtown revitalization. The UPAR project includes pipe replacement on the 1100 block as well as work on 12th Avenue from 99th to 100th Streets.
But two contentious aspects of the proposed project – the creation of a bulb-out at the Capitol Theatre corner of 100th Street and 11th Avenue, as well as the restrictions on curb crossing access along the 1100 block – drew some resistance at the meeting.
There was concern expressed that the proposed bulb-out at the Capitol Theatre corner would cause more problems than it was worth by restricting turns at the intersection.
Others expressed outrage over the work previously done on the downtown blocks of 101st Street, which included placement of bulb-outs. One said it made for an even narrower street than before. “Somebody’s going to die there, the way that’s been designed,” he said.
“This is truck country,” noted another, expressing worry more bulb-outs would constrict trucks and force them into oncoming traffic lanes, and lead to more accidents.
But city officials in attendance – the city’s engineer, Bob Anthony, and the city’s director of planning and development, Jennifer Niesink – insisted safety was the reason behind the bulb-out placements, as well as the curb crossing restrictions.
“The city could be held liable,” Niesink said of the latter. “We have a duty to protect our citizens, and the drivers have a duty to protect other people.”
Anthony repeated what he had said previously during a meeting of city council – that the bulb-outs were meant to act as a traffic calming device and encourage motorists to slow down, and that they were looking to “strike a balance” between pedestrians and vehicles.